Renowned as one of South Africa’s top tourism destinations, Durban has long delivered excellence for both holiday and business travel, with golden beaches, a year-round warm climate, a wide range of entertainment options and conference facilities, a diverse and vibrant culture, and world-class accommodation. In honour of Tourism month and Heritage Day in September, Tsogo Sun is commemorating its growing investment in the city’s tourism offering over the last five decades.
Tsogo Sun currently boasts nine hotels from Umhlanga in the north to uShaka Marine World in the south, as well as the area’s leading entertainment destination, Suncoast. The group’s nine hotels together offer 1 958 rooms, 13 restaurants, eight bars, and a myriad of other facilities and amenities. For decades, when South Africans think of holidays, Durban is the top of mind city – and Tsogo Sun’s hotels have continued to tick all the boxes for ideal accommodation, the best ocean views, the finest restaurants, and the easiest access to the city’s beautiful beaches.
Tsogo Sun’s Durban heritage began with the opening of the Beverly Hills in Umhlanga by Sol Kerzner in 1964. From this, Southern Sun was born in 1969, and in 1971 the group’s first new hotel was built, The Elangeni, on the Durban beachfront, which was followed by the iconic five-star Maharani. In 1981 Umhlanga Sands Hotel was bought and the Southern Sun Timeshare concept was launched, which subsequently included Cabana Beach Resort. Garden Court Marine Parade opened in 1985 with a distinctively art deco feel, and then Garden Court South Beach, previously Malibu Hotel, joined the family. In 2002 the group invested a further R1.4 billion into the Golden Mile – the single largest investment by any private company – with Suncoast Casino, Hotels & Entertainment, adding two hotels (Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast) and an array of entertainment, retail, gaming, fast-food and restaurant options. The ninth hotel, Garden Court Umhlanga, opened in 2010, and in 2013, Tsogo Sun transformed two of its beachfront hotels into the massive 734-room Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani hotel.
Ravi Nadasen, COO of Tsogo Sun hotels, says, “Tsogo Sun is proud of our position as a key role player in the Durban economy. Our continued investment into our local properties is a reflection of our strong confidence in the area as an attractive leisure and business tourist destination, and in the eThekwini Municipality’s significant efforts to ensure the beachfront promenade is a world-class attraction for local and international travellers.”
Tsogo Sun’s latest investment in Durban is a complete redevelopment of Suncoast at a cost of R1,6 billion, which will be fully completed by end 2018 and includes an additional 8,000 square metres of space, a newly located Salon Privé with sea views, eight new restaurants, retail outlets, casino space, parking, a Barnyard Theatre, and a multi-purpose event venue for up to 2,000 people.
The eThekwini Municipality is also continuing its city improvement projects, which include the Point Waterfront Promenade Extension scheduled for completion in 2019, and a new KwaZulu Cruise Terminal to be constructed in the Port of Durban by end 2020. Apart from its extensive tourism offerings, Durban is South Africa’s third largest city, built around one of the busiest ports in Africa and has the fourth largest harbour in the southern hemisphere, and has earned its reputation as a dynamic mecca of business and industry.
Nadasen adds that the group has recognised the city’s vast potential for growth and is committed to helping the city ensure it achieves its full potential as the best event city in South Africa, offering a rich playground of activities, hospitality and events. “Our investment in Durban is directly in line with Tsogo Sun’s vision to provide the greatest possible variety of quality hospitality, leisure, gaming, and entertainment experiences at every one of our destinations.”
Philip Sithole, Deputy City Manager Development & Planning says, Tsogo Sun has contributed in changing the Durban skyline through their investment in key strategic tourism products which are key in ensuring that our tourism thrives. “Over the years the economy of Durban has benefited enormously from this partnership as it continues to shape the landscape of the city’s offering whilst complementing our vision of making Durban the must-visit destination.”